Helmet Regulation in Vietnam: Impact on Health, Equity, and Medical Impoverishment

Authors: Zach Olson, John A. Staples, Charles Mock, Nam Phuong Nguyen, Abdulgafoor M. Bachani, Rachel Nugent, Stéphane Verguet

Road traffic injury (RTI) accounts for a substantial and increasing burden of mortality, morbidity, and health care costs in developing nations. Globally, road traffic is responsible for 1.3 million fatal and 78 million nonfatal injuries each year (WHO 2013a; World Bank and IHME 2014). In the Western Pacific, RTI is the leading cause of mortality for people ages 15–49 years (WHO 2013b). Direct economic costs are estimated to exceed US$500 billion worldwide and are anticipated to grow in tandem with motorization of the developing world (WHO 2004; World Bank and IHME 2014). The potentially substantial out-of-pocket (OOP) medical costs associated with traffic injury may result in catastrophic expenditures (expenditures that crowd out a significant portion of household expenditures) and subsequent impoverishment (Wagstaff 2010).